“Fat to Fit” in 4 Simple Steps (SCIENCE PROVEN)

If you want to make a fat to fit transformation, you are going to want to watch this video. Here I share with you 4 simple steps that are science proven to work every time. You may have even heard some of these fitness tips before but haven’t been able to act on them. The problem is just identifying the reason why you may be overweight is not enough to give you the tools for fixing that. I aim to give you an actionable method that will help you lose fat and build muscle at the same time and not end up looking skinny fat.

The first thing you want to do when you want to get rid of body fat is create a caloric deficit. This is based on the science proven method of calories in calories out equation that states that you must create a net energy deficit. This can come through either the burning of calories through exercise or eating fewer throughout the day. At this point, we are talking about those calories consumed through what you eat.

The mistake most people make is cutting calories too drastically in an attempt to lose weight fast. As you’ll see, this winds up being in direct conflict with step 3 to be discussed and can just plain leave those that try this tired and unmotivated. When the early motivation for the diet wanes, they wind up stopping all together and putting back on the weight.

So what is a good recommendation for the amount of calories you should consume in a day in your meal plan if you want to burn fat. I say no more than 500 less than your caloric baseline or TDEE. In general however, science will show that with as little as a 200-300 calorie deficit from baseline you can experience good steady fat loss with far less likelihood of quitting. Sure, it may take a little longer to reach your fat loss goals but if you were able to more likely be able to keep the weight off for good, wouldn’t this be an acceptable tradeoff.

The next step is to figure out how you are going to reach this hypocaloric state in order to burn fat faster. This is the point that many people will decide which diet to go on. They consider things like keto, paleo, mediterranean or other popular diets. While these can all be effective, you need to think about two things above the name of the diet you want to do. These are your food preferences and your behaviors around food. The first is obvious. The only way you are going to have long term success in trying to go from fat to fit is to base your eating around foods you still enjoy and could eat for the rest of your life. When people become too restrictive with their diets they never have the ability to stick with them.

The second part is probably the most important however. This is in regards to your behavior. What behavior has caused you to put on the weight that you are trying to lose right now? For example, maybe you are someone that has a hard time controlling your portions. At every meal you eat too much and wind up getting fat simply because of excess calories consumed – even if you eat fairly healthy. Well, in order to fix this problem you wouldn’t really want to just start restricting yourself on all food portions. Your behavior is such that you are used to eating larger portions in order to keep yourself satisfied. So instead, I’d recommend decreasing your portions of starchy carbohydrates slightly (the foods that tend to be easily overeaten the most) and increase the amount of fiber and fibrous carbs you eat. These foods will keep you feeling satisfied, help maintain stable blood sugar and still give you the satisfaction of high portions.

But these just address the fat portion of the fat to fit transformation. If you just stopped here you wouldn’t look anything but likely skinny fat. In order to do this you must focus on strength training. Too often, even when people include exercise in the equation it is of the cardio type. They run, bike or walk but none of these things has the biggest requirement for building muscle – progressive overload on resistance training. You need to include weight training at least 3 times per week in your workout plan – preferably more.

If you do these 4 things and remain consistent with them, you can make a fat to fit transformation. Remember, just getting skinny should not be the goal. Losing weight without building muscle is going to leave you looking skinny fat. The key appeal to most lean bodies is the noticeable muscularity.

If you’re looking for a step by step workout program and meal plan to help you lose body fat and build muscle at the same time, be sure to head to athleanx.com in the link below and check out the AX1 program.

If you’re looking for more videos on how to lose fat or want a perfect beginner workout to get you started, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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56 thoughts on ““Fat to Fit” in 4 Simple Steps (SCIENCE PROVEN)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD “FAST ACTION” Q&A* – Leave your most burning question about this video or any other training, PT or nutrition question within the first 2 hours of this video’s release (AS A SEPARATE COMMENT!!) and I will pick 10 to get a detailed reply from me right here in the comments. Answers will be posted within the first 24-48 hours of you leaving the question. Good luck!

    • scottf 345 says:

      Jeff I have done several of your programs with tremdous results. I lost 75lbs and never felt fitter. It even inspired me to get back on the bike and there is where I have a question.
      How do you blend an endurance sport like cycling with weight training. I’ve tried to keep up with your programs and do the cycling but it’s just too much for me. It’s all good until about the 3rd week then the fatigue sets in even with skipping the cardio portion of your programming.
      Right now I’m doing a push pull no legs on monday wendsday and friday. I’m spending 70% of my time cycling and 30% of the time with the weights. I do have a training plan for my cycling. So im spending 4 days totaling 5-7 hrs a week on cycling and 1 hour 3 days a week on my directionless weight training.
      While I have been consistant with my gym work I lack focus. I find that I work better if I have a plan worked out for me.
      So my question is how to best blend endurance sport with gym time , is there a certain program that you recomend? I’ve done x1 ,x2 , nxt thru month 12 and shred and I haven’t found it. Maybe it’s because I’ve already repeated those programs sometimes more than a couple of times. Anyway, I think you get the picture. Any help would greatly be appreciated. I’m a very young 57 yr old – thanks to you – if that matters.

    • HO OH says:

      As regards the first illustrative case, how did this man get rid of his excess skin after loosing what seems to be copious amount of fat; sure he built some muscle mass, but the apparent volume of the lean mass does not seem to be sufficient to fill in the room left by fat.

  2. Vitality says:

    Breaking bad habits is key. Imagine we would substitute our bad habits with positive and productive one. Man, who we could become!

  3. My temporal lobe is shaped like Rosalynn Carter says:

    Jeff: Can your body adapt and plateau with a perfect diet just like it could with a workout that never changed over time?

    • Caseh says:

      Instinctively, I would say we can have the same diet for years and have the same benefits as having that diet for a few months, unlike with workout plateaus

    • Just Sum Guy says:

      PLATEAU: ~ “A State Of Little Or No Change Following A Period Of Activity Or Progress.” The idea is to try and NOT plateau, as your body will get used to the routines you do. Try to mix up…The Routines…The Duration…and The Intensity….

    • Ray Radam says:

      Nope, it’s simple you can’t get fat if you eat less than recommended, look at poor nations they are skinny not by choice.

    • James A says:

      Your mind can do little things like try to keep your NEAT down like stopping your fidgeting or make you lean while standing if you don’t pay attention. But all things equal you’ll burn the same calories at the same weight.

    • high0nfire says:

      I wonder if plateaus are just phases of adaptation, where if you just kept plugging away, you would eventually get through it, but you would just not have visible/measurable changes for a few months. I think everyone has had the idea of “I’ll just eat the maintenance calories of my goal weight and I’ll eventually get to that weight!” And that would probably eventually work, but I bet our body’s attempts at adapting (like crashing our NEAT, messing with thermal regulation, other bodily functions, sleep, mood, sexual function) would not be fun to go through. Sounds like slight deficit with the proper macros and as much resistance training, cardio & sleep as your body and lifestyle could support.

  4. Pete Rubish says:

    What does your supplementation look like? Appreciate it Jeff! I’m just wondering if you take anything outside of the realm of things like Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, etc?

  5. Andrzej Przybylski says:

    Hi Jeff! Do you have any tips for the ACL injury? Could you explain it a bit, and which muscle to train to strengthen it post-injury/post-surgery?

    • Хейвен Бекель says:

      I’ve had multiple AC/ACL injuries and my best tips would be to just rest! ACL injuries suck and what I’ve seen/learned the best thing you can do is rest lots and alternate heat and ice on the affected areas. If you’re looking for workouts do lots of upper body (sitting not standing) and also do some light calisthenics. If your start feeling very sore or start hurting then take a break and do your alternating ice and heat. Hope your feel better and can get back to your regular workouts and health!

    • Michael OConnell says:

      If you’re cleared to rehab, it’s best to strengthen the entire leg: extension, flexion, adduction, and abduction. When you strengthen the leg, you strengthen the knee. A good gym should have all the equipment you need.

  6. Allen M says:

    Question, for abs training, why for most workouts is it high reps for each exercise vs maybe lower reps 8-12? Is there a reason most workouts are time circuit instead of straight sets of 3×8-12? Thanks Coach Jeff!

    • Thetrue Man says:

      I think mainly is because the 8-12 is targeted towards muscle building. You cant really grow your abs, look at the top body builders they dont have hugs abs. The abs are constantly working everyday from holding your body up and stabilizing it. So in order to train the abs effectively you need high reps. Then again it will depend on the exercise you choose. If it’s hard for you to perform you may only get 8-12 reps. This isn’t bad though. I’m no coach or anything.

    • bkLEGION3000 says:

      You can’t really progressively overload your abs JUST by adding more weight. Abs respond much better to Time under Tension. So for ab training you may start with a minute of crunches and then 1:30 then 2 min as a way to metabolically overload the muscle and drive growth. A straight crunch routine that was 3×8-12 may be 1 minute for a beginner but an experienced person might knock that out in 12 seconds flat. You can assume that adding enough weight to that to fail out your abs in 3 sets of 12 would be very bad for your back and other joints. So the alternative is to do MORE work in a timed set. Say 45 crunches in a minute.

    • b0nes says:

      All comments so far are BS.

      Low rep workouts build muscle as well but have the important benefit of also stimulating neurological adaptation – so you will get stronger, and more useful.

      However, low rep workouts really push the central nervous system and it will make it quite hard to stick to it for most people that don’t have a strong will. They are also quite injury sensitive for people who don’t spend a lot of time working on form.

      Therefore, 8-12 workouts are easier and safer.

    • Josue Lopez says:

      Is the same true for building big calves? Do you benefit the most from doing high reps or doing low reps with more weight?

  7. Weldon says:

    1. Calories burned > calories taken in
    2. Good foods, but not too much
    3. Grind
    4. Keep grinding!

    • Kevin S says:

      @shizuokaBLUES nah, just dense. Put your nose to the grindstone is the old saying just shortened to grind.

    • shizuokaBLUES says:

      @Kevin S I guess you assume I live in the US. I live in Japan. So don’t need the mean-spirited sarcasm especially since it was a sincere question. Why be nasty?

  8. Matthew Heaton says:

    I’m disabled so I find everything very strenuous. The advantage with that is that I can reach hypertrophy very easily and the muscle just jumps onto me. I barely shift any weight but do it in a very intense way. I’ve been in a slight caloric deficit for about 9 months now. About 200 calories fewer than my maintenance amount. I adjusted my protein intake to be relatively high but still within that deficit. I have been building plenty of muscle for the whole time. Unless someone, for example, has body parts missing or another reason it would be very hard to train then (aside from time), I don’t see why people can’t train. If I can do it anyone can. The principles behind losing fat or gaining muscle are easy to understand but it can be difficult keeping up with the consistency. Once you get into the routine, it becomes easier and easier. I have time off every so often as I always go to failure (I can’t physically do another rep, failure). If people can forget their egos and not care how much weight they or other people are shifting or how many reps they can do, then their workouts will become more productive and fun as all you have to do is beat what you did last time. Anyway, I hope everyone can either start or continue on their journey to reach their goals. The hardest part is starting and as I said, it gets easier and easier and it’s so worth it when you look in the mirror and feel better in general, let alone feel better because you look better. Anyway, good luck! You CAN do it!

    • Rishav Roy says:

      Man you just described me. I have mild Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, and I’ve always thought that bc I am weak and can’t do many reps that I wouldn’t see results.

      But ur story has definitely encouraged me to keep going. I wanna get fit and instead of being skinny fat have some muscle and a defined abs and chest.

  9. A A says:

    This seems predominantly male orientated, but I’ve been following a lot of the advice from this channel and I’m seeing a huge difference in my physique.

    • Mary Franks says:

      I agree the channel for women isn’t as good. I’ve been following workouts from Jeff for about 2 years now since my son put me on to this channel. Great results in appearance and strength. I just modify some things. I’m 55 and there are no weighted pullups in my future! Resistance bands.

    • BabciCathy says:

      @Markus Z I just bought the women’s program ($80) …Athlean XX. I am 74 years old and I can only do about half the moves in each of the workouts. The program comes with a 90-day calendar and streaming videos for each day (I’ve done one week). There is a diet package, as well. I’ll start on that in about two weeks. First, I have to catch up with the three 20-something instructors in the videos who are very good. They jump rope to cool down…I have forgotten how to jump at all. But I AM DETERMINED TO DO THIS!

    • Markus Z says:

      @BabciCathy Good for you mam! Take care of yourself and keep going, but make sure to know your limits as well.

    • A A says:

      @BabciCathy you’re 74 and you’re working out like this? You’re a beast!! Get em granny! (I mean this in the most respectful way)

    • XHALE says:

      @ergle lergle No training is male orientated, Women build muscle exactly the same way as men do, no matter our differences.

  10. John Ringhisen says:

    Coach: How do I safely double up on workouts? I’m holding true to the advice and doing strength training 4-5 days a week, the diet is locked in (great video today!), and have started adding 1 day a week where I double up – lifting/strength followed by an intense cardio workout with a cycling class.

  11. F. J. says:

    How do I implement strength, speed and flexibility workouts when I have team (lacrosse) practise 2-3 times a week? Also how much rest should I implement?

  12. DJ says:

    Hey Jeff thanks for the video. A key that I would love to listen from you is how to progressively overload while being in a hypocaloric state. Over the last 4 years, I have tried again and again, but I just plateau out with limited carb intake in ~2 weeks time.

    At the end of the day it just always becomes a choice between lift heavy or hypocaloric state.

    • PS A says:

      No point in cutting carbs unnecessary, cut some of the calories from fat. Protein is pretty safe to over consume, one study even found that 500kcal didn’t increase body weight in active individuals.

  13. MMbaseball 28 says:

    Hey Jeff, I love your videos. I was wondering if you can explain the difference between how long you will experience DOMS for different types of training? How long do DOMS last typically for metabolic, eccentric, and progressive overload workouts?

  14. FrankCastiglione says:

    Oh, Jeff. Hope you recover that arm/elbow (guys: do you know what happened? Is it injury or just for prevention?)

  15. James McPherson says:

    Hello Jeff, I was wondering how to get strength back in my shoulders since having both operated on a few years back? PT was good for them but I can’t seem to get my strength back to where it used to be and/or causing pain. I use light weights but may be going at it the wrong way. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  16. Nobsbodybuilding says:

    Hey Jeff I just wanted to say something. Back around the start of Covid I got fat as hell and needed help. I decided that I was going to start working out more and get healthy. I did a bunch of like cardio and stuff but I wasn’t into it: I started watching your vids while I decided to try to do a recomp style body change built around weight lifting, and your workouts really helped me when gyms got shut down, and talking about making sure you eat what you like while still healthy was a reminder to make sure I wasn’t going to give up helped. I went from 30% body fat to 13% so thank you very much for helping me out along the way

    • Bethany Jones says:

      Congrats on your success! Jeff has helped me too rehabbing a back issue. His content is great!

    • Maalik Fazal says:

      What top 5 things have you done to significantly lower your body fat percentage? I am currently at about 26-30% bf, wanting to become leaner just like you. Thanks.

    • Nobsbodybuilding says:

      @Maalik Fazal I’ll give you my five, focus on what’s going in your body such as finding healthy foods you like and can eat consistently, work more activity into your life even if it’s simple things like walking places when you have time, lift weights try to get stronger, drink water, and make sure you’re sleeping enough

  17. MdMDmD says:

    I recommend people read the book “the power of habit”. Although it probably overattributes a few things to habits, it is a good perspective on how habits form, how to break them, and how to set yourself up for new habits.

  18. KOBI says:

    Lost all I worked for due to bad habits. It’s so bad that it affected me mentally as well.

    It’s hard to work my way back but it’ll be worth it. Thank you for the reminder and push

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